1. definition
  2. examples and/or illustrations
  3. other useful sources
  4. bibliography


The act or instance of settling or being settled in another place.

The Free Dictionary. (2014). Resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/resettlement

The transportation of people (as a family or colony) to a new settlement (as after an upheaval of some kind).

Wordnet. (n.d.). Resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=resettlement

The process of moving people to a different place to live, because they are no longer allowed to stay in the area where they used to live.

Reverso. (2003). Resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-cobuild/resettlement

Resettlement is defined as the transfer of refugees from a state in which they have sought asylum to a third state that has previously agreed to admit them as refugees and grant them a form of legal status, with the possibility of acquiring future citizenship. 

European Council on Refugee and Exiles. (n.d.). Resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.ecre.org/topics/areas-of-work/resettlement.html

A person who has fled their country, is temporarily in a second country and then is offered a permanent home in a third country.  Refugees resettled to Canada are selected abroad and become permanent residents as soon as they arrive in Canada.

  • Resettled refugees are determined to be refugees by the Canadian government before they arrive in Canada. Refugee claimants receive a decision on whether they are refugees after they arrive in Canada.

Canadian Council for Refugee. (2010). Refugees and immigrants: A glossary. Retrieved April 2014, from https://ccrweb.ca/en/glossary


Examples and/or Illustrations

“The United States is by far the largest of the 10 “traditional” resettlement countries, in that it has historically accepted more refugees for resettlement than all other countries combined” 

Migration Policy Institute. (2004). The U.S refugee resettlement program. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/us-refugee-resettlement-program

There are an estimated 10.5 million refuges in the world today. Countries with resettlement programs resettle about 100,000 refugees from abroad each year. Of that number, Canada annually takes in one out of every 10, through the government-assisted and privately sponsored refugee programs

The government of Canada is committed to strengthening Canada’s role as a global leader in refugee protection by enhancing our resettlement programs by:

  • Increasing the number of refugees resettled from abroad and
  • Increasing resettlement assistance provided to refugees

Government of Canada. (2012). The refugee system in Canada. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/canada.asp

Some refugees cannot go home or are unwilling to do so because they will face continued persecution. Many are also living in perilous situations or have specific needs that cannot be addressed in the country where they have sought protection. In such circumstances, UNHCR helps resettle refugees in a third country as the only safe and viable durable solution. Of the 10.5 million refugees of concern to UNHCR around the world, only about 1 per cent are submitted by the agency for resettlement.

The UN Refugee Agency. (2014). A new beginning in a third country. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4a16b1676.html

The resettlement support program serves to:

  • Increase access to resettlement as a durable solution for refugees in need
  • Increase resettlement capacity, efficiency and quality of referrals in situations of identified need
  • Draw on Mapendo International’s (resettlement support program) strengths in resettlement processing, including building partner capacity for identification of particularly vulnerable groups and individuals in need of durable solutions
  • Strengthen UNHCR and NGO collaboration, raise awareness of NGO roles in resettlement and other durable solutions responses

UNHCR. (2011). UNHCR-NGO toolkit for practical cooperation on resettlement. Operational activities- Staff and cost-sharing and funding arrangements: Field examples. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.unhcr.org/4cd41b389.html

If a refugee cannot locally integrate in the country where he or she has sought asylum and there is no prospect of repatriation in the foreseeable future, resettlement becomes the only possible durable solution. Resettlement is an important international protection tool to meet the needs of refugees whose life, liberty, safety, health and other fundamental human rights are at risk.

European Council on Refugee and Exiles. (n.d.). Resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.ecre.org/topics/areas-of-work/resettlement.html


Other Useful Sources

International Finance Corporation. (n.d.). Handbook for preparing a resettlement action plan. Environment and Social Development Department. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/22ad720048855b25880cda6a6515bb18/ResettlementHandbook.PDF?MOD=AJPERES

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (2010). Annual tripartite consultations on resettlement. UNHCR Position Paper on the Strategic Use of Resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.refworld.org/pdfid/4c0d10ac2.pdf

Refugee Transition. (2014). The refugee resettlement process. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.reftrans.org/the-resettlement-process/

HIAS. (2013). Beginning the resettlement process. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.hias.org/en/pages/beginning-resettlement-process

Canadian Council for Refugee. (n.d.). Law’s borders: Challenging assumptions about refugee resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://ccrweb.ca/en/webinar/laws-borders-challenging-refugee-resettlement

Mennonite Central Committee. (2014). Refugee sponsorship and resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://mcco.ca/refugee

Case Law

1)      Ha v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (F.C.A.), 2004 FCA 49, [2004] 3 F.C.R. 195

Retrieved March 2014, from http://reports.fja-cmf.gc.ca/eng/2004/2004fca49.html

2)      SGDB v. Minister for Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs, [2004] FCAFC 59

Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.refworld.org/topic,50ffbce510,50ffbce52b,4110ce034,0,AUS_FC,CASELAW,AUS.html

Other Related Terms:

1)      Emigrate

2)      Reorient

3)      Immigrate

4)      Relocate



The UN Refugee Agency. (2014). Resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4a16b1676.html

Government of Canada. Government of Canada, Immigration and Citizenship. (2012). Resettlement from outside Canada. Retrieved March 2014, from website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/outside/index.asp

Canadian Lutheran World Relief. (2014). Refugee resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.clwr.org/what-we-do/refugee-resettlement.cfm

U.S Department of Health & Human services. (n.d.). Office of refugee resettlement: An office of the administration of children and families. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr

European Council on Refugee and Exiles. (2010). NGO involvement in resettlement: Good practice. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ca57fe42.html

Nezer, M. (2013). Resettlement at risk: Meeting emerging challenges to refugee resettlement in local communities. HIAS. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.hias.org/uploaded/file/Resettlement_at_Risk.pdf

Refworld. (2014). Resettlement. Retrieved March 2014, from http://www.refworld.org/resettlement.html

Presse, D., & Thomson, J. (2007). The resettlement challenge: Integration of refugees from protracted refugee situations. Refuge24(2), 48-53. Retrieved April 2014, from http://web.a.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=3cede83f-bc90-434b-bbc3-6d59da99116f@sessionmgr4002&vid=2&hid=4106

Fozdar, F., & Hartley, L. (2013). Refugee resettlement in Australia: What we know and need to know. Refugee Survey Quarterly32(3), 23-51. Retrieved April 2014, from http://journals2.scholarsportal.info/pdf/10204067/v32i0003/23_rriawwkantk.xml